COACHING AND THE FIVE A’s: Amal, Akhlak, Adab, Adat & Akrab

During my service with the Malaysian Armed Forces, I have always been intrigued by these often-repeated words by my leaders: ‘Amal’, Akhlak’, ‘Adab’, ‘Adat’, ‘Akrab’. These are words with Arabic roots, but they have also been culturally adapted and imbibed in the Malaysian Malay lexicon and relate to ways of being.

From my Internet search, these words mean the following in English. Some of you might translate it differently and but these meanings made sense to me.

Amal means: Practice

Akhlak means Morality, Character

Adab means: Manners, Etiquette or Behaviour

Adat means: Culture or and Custom

Akrab means: Close Relationship

Knowing the ‘WHATS’ of the Five As helps us to understand the role of these words in human relationships, but more critically, the question of HOW we develop these ‘values’ or ‘attributes’ is one that needs greater attention and deserves exploring. This has made me reflect on my own life and how being a Coach and Training Coaches, has shed some light on the question about the How of the Five As?

When we collect data, and testimonials from participating Coaches and their coachees, the feedback we receive often reflect some kind of change and in the equation is the issue of how that change affects human relationships. One example is this response: “I have changed, it is not about me but it is the other person, I have developed empathy, I listen more, I have developed trust and respect, our relationship is better”

Personally, I believe being a Coach and being Coached all these years have helped me in this journey of being a ‘human being’. I am grateful to the @International Association of Coaching (IAC) for introducing to me the IAC 9 Masteries and to the IAC

Again, quite instinctively, I find myself going back to those words of my Army days and making the connection between the Five’As and Coaching has provided me with the answer as to ‘HOW’ to develop those values and traits. In a nutshell, the way I see it is that the Five As, if embraced accordingly, would follow one another beautifully, giving lasting results that would serve to improve human relationships and well-being. This is how I see it:

When we AMAL the ethics and practice of Coaching, we can develop our AKHLAK and ADAB that can influence and develop the right ADAT which can help build AKRAB among fellow human beings.

At the end of the day, it is all about incorporating the Five As into our lives if we were to seriously desire a better, more humane ways of being. And to me, since Coaching is a powerful transformative tool in itself, the connections that it has with those exceptionally influential five words, will certainly help us achieve a level of congruency both internally and externally.

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Captain Dr. Shan Moorthi PhD, CMC (IAC)

Developing Leaders as Coaches and Facilitators. Author of ‘Coaching with R.E.S.P.E.C.T’ Inspiring Change & Transformation one conversation at a time